Cfp: Engaging African Realities: Re-assessing African values, spirituality; religious innovationand competition

A two-day conference jointly organized by the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity and the African Association for the Study of Religion (AASR), in Abuja, Nigeria, April 10 – 11, 2024

Religions constitute some of the most dynamic forces in contemporary Africa. This claim is mostly evident in the ever-increasing number of sacred ritual sites on the continent and religion’s mounting and diverse entanglements with all the facets of African realities. Such is the depth and breadth of the dialectical relationship between contemporary African realities and religion, spirituality and African values that it is impossible in the 21 st century to critically discuss one without the other. Like other religions in the continent, Christianity is innovative, diverse and competitive. Diversity and competition are often vehicles, if not drivers, of creative change and innovation.

This two-day international conference marks the culmination of a three-year project by the Nagel Institute on the theme of ‘Engaging African Realities.’ It brings together scholars from various disciplines and faith practitioners to, on the one hand, critically examine the multi-layered ways that religion, spirituality and African values impact how Africans innovatively interpret and engage with their multi-faceted realities, and on the other hand, assess the extent to which contemporary realities in the continent are impacting and creatively remaking religiosity, spirituality and African values.

Presenters are invited to submit proposals that respond to these questions, and others:
 To what extent do new religious developments reflect African values, agency, and creativity?
 How do the changing realities of African life affect traditional African values and spiritual proclivities?
 What can religions in the continent gain from a deeper knowledge of, and engagement with, African values and spiritualities?
 In what ways do African spiritualities and values impact how Africans interact with their daily and contemporary realities?
 How are women and young people creatively appropriating spiritual resources and African values to negotiate contemporary challenges and opportunities in Africa?
 To what extent are religious diversity and competition drivers of creative change in Africa?
 What is the relationship between religious innovation and commercial entrepreneurship?
 How do new religious forms and patterns relate to broader social and institutional changes in contemporary Africa?
 What are the implications of new developments in African religions for the study of contemporary Africa?
 What are the implications of contemporary developments on the African religious landscape for how religion and theology are taught in African educational institutions?

How to submit your proposal:
Send proposals for individual papers, panels or roundtables to:
The proposal should not exceed 300 words for an individual paper and 500 for a panel or roundtable. The deadline to submit a proposal is December 20. Abstracts submitted after this date will not be considered.

Proposal Submission Criteria

 Presenter(s) Name(s) & Affiliations.
 An email address for correspondence.
 The maximum word count for the proposal is 300 words.
 The Conference Committee does not encourage more than one submission.

Proposal Review Criteria

The Conference Committee will prioritise original proposals that:
 address the above-listed conference themes and closely related ones.
 are underpinned with solid evidence of research and scholarship.
 demonstrate reflectivity and criticality by its author/s.
 have research, practice or pedagogical relevance.
 suggest an engaging, creative, and insightful presentation.

Conference Fees:
Standard Fee: USD 80 per participant (AASR member); USD 120 (non-AASR member)
Concession Fee: USD 40 (AASR member); USD 60 (non-AASR member). Concession rate applies to students and retired persons)
The conference registration fee covers entrance to the conference, tea breaks, light refreshments, and daily lunches.

Participants are required to make their accommodation arrangements. The conference organisers will recommend the conference hotel with a negotiated discounted rate but will also provide a list of reasonably priced accommodations near the conference venue, but each participant will have to book the accommodation.

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